Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
Perhaps you heard the helicopter flying over the area that beautiful spring afternoon. Perhaps you wondered, as many did, what was going on. It could have been a real traffic accident, with the helicopter coming to get an injured person quickly to the hospital. There could have been an innocent couple on the road and in the path of a drunk driver; one leaving the scene in an ambulance and the other in a hearse. But that's not what happened, this time anyway. Students at KAHS witnessed the full scenario of what happens after a car crash. The jaws of life were used to extricate the injured. They watched as the driver who caused the accident was walked away from the scene, covered in fake blood. She was tested for alcohol consumption, handcuffed, and put in a police car after other injured parties were taken by ambulance and Life Flight helicopter to hospitals. A hush fell over the crowd as a white hearse pulled up and Dingmann Funeral Care carefully removed the body of the crash victim who "died." Then Maureen Johnson (inset photo, shown holding a photo of her dead brother) spoke to the group about what happened when she got the call that her younger brother was killed in a car accident. It was she who picked out his coffin, and selected the clothes he was buried in. This exercise was coordinated by the Kimball Area Fire & Rescue Department, specifically chief John Gohmann and Dave Traurig. Others who participated in this exercise included the Watkins Ambulance, LifeFlight, Dingmann Funeral Care, and Stearns County Sheriff's Office. Principal Erik Widvey called it "a great program." He said that students were debriefed afterwards, with lots of questions and good discussion. Gohmann described the experience in one word: Awesome. He added one critique for the next time they do this, though: they'll all work on their acting skills so it's a better "performance." Tentative plans are to repeat this valuable training experience in about three years.